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Recovery continues for UK architects

The burgeoning housing sector and the recovering office market is continuing to fuel confidence across the profession

The latest RIBA Future Trends survey show optimisim in all regions, with London-based practices the most positive reporting a Workload Index of +45.

The Workload Index – the total difference between those expecting more work in the next three months and those expecting less – remained the same as the previous month at +35.

Small, medium and large-sized practices have all reported positive figures. While 94 per cent of practices expected staffing levels to increase during the next quarter.

After work in the private housing sector dropped off last month to +31, it has now risen two points to +33, while the commercial sector is also up five points to +22. But public sector workloads have continued to plummet, dropping to just +4.

RIBA director of practice Adrian Dobson said: ‘Optimism about future workload continues to be driven by a widespread strengthening of the private housing sector and an increasing pick-up in commercial projects. RIBA practices reported an 8 per cent improvement in the value of actual work in-progress in Q1 of 2014 compared with Q1 in 2013, representing the third consecutive quarter of aggregate growth in the value of work being undertaken by the UK architects’ profession.’

Dobson added: ‘The market for architects’ services is becoming more buoyant, especially in the housing and commercial sectors. However, our practices continue to report a very competitive market for their services, with strong pressure on fee levels and profit margins on many projects remaining very tight.’

 

Readers' comments (1)

  • Coming out of recession is the most dangerous time for practices, especially smaller ones. Increasing workloads, 'strong pressure on fees' and a backlog of previous suicidal fee bids mean the danger zone is all around us.

    I would be wary of celebrating 'recovery for UK architects' this early, albeit as the eternal optimists in the construction industry any upturn at least seems like the light at the end of tunnel. The key is to dig ourselves cleanly out of the tunnel in regard to fees to make the profession more resilient in future.

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